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Dems attack GOP congressman for cannabis advocacy (Newsletter: July 13, 2018)

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NY allows medical marijuana for opioid conditions; Lawmakers debate legalization & driving; OK lawmakers vow to fix medical cannabis regulations

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

In a Los Angeles Times op-ed, I called out the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for launching a bizarre anti-marijuana attack against Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) on Twitter. Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) told me in a statement that political organization’s tweet, which was deleted following the publication of my piece, was “stupid.”

New York regulators enacted emergency rules allowing medical cannabis for any condition that would normally be prescribed opioids.

The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee debated the alleged link between marijuana legalization and impaired driving during a hearing.

/ FEDERAL

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) said cannabis oil “has proven…to have a positive effect” but that he is concerned about broader medical marijuana being a “back door” to recreational legalization.

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “How can we solve the problem of U.S. citizens getting arrested or fined for carrying marijuana bought legally from Canada? Simple, by legalizing marijuana in our nation.”

The U.S. House bill to deschedule marijuana got one new cosponsor, got a total of 38.

The U.S. House resolution calling for equity in the marijuana industry got one new cosponsor, for a total of 16.

Arizona Democratic congressional candidates spoke about marijuana reform at a forum.

/ STATES

Oklahoma lawmakers formed a bipartisan working group to focus on seeing that medical cannabis is implemented in a way that “conforms to the will of the voters.” House Democrats are calling for a special legislative session to address the issue.

  • Supporters of a pending recreational marijuana legalization ballot initiative say they are seeing an uptick in signatures, driven by frustration with restrictions in new medical cannabis regulations.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D), after vetoing legislation to allow medical cannabis for opioid conditions, announced he signed amendments adding reciprocity for out-of-state patients, making certifications last for up to three years and enacting other expansions to the program.

New Jersey’s health commissioner is considering adding opioid addiction as a medical cannabis qualifying condition.

Georgia Republican gubernatorial candidates both said at a debate that they favor medical cannabis expansion but oppose recreational marijuana legalization.

Connecticut Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont said the “time has come” for marijuana legalization.

Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Flynn said he would do everything in his power to legalize marijuana and would pardon nonviolent cannabis offenders.

Oregon regulators issued a report saying the state’s medical cannabis program has “shortcomings that enabled growers, dispensaries and laboratories to operate without effective oversight.”

Michigan regulators awarded the state’s first four medical cannabis operating licenses. Meanwhile, the Detroit free press looks at the differences between the state’s marijuana legalization proposal and Colorado’s law.

New Mexico regulators sent a letter warning medical cannabis licensees to stop selling CBD and hemp products that were produced outside of the state.

Massachusetts regulators issued another marijuana cultivation license, but it is unlikely that legal sales will begin until August.

Alaska’s lieutenant governor certified regulations concerning marijuana business affiliates, inspection fees, odor control and trade shows.

Arkansas regulators voted to keep medical cannabis cultivation license applications open for 24 months in case any current awardees surrender or lose their licenses. They also approved a rule that would allow hiring an outside consultant to help review and score applications.

Ohio regulators approved more doctors to recommend medical cannabis.

/ LOCAL

The Dane County, Wisconsin Board voted to place a marijuana legalization advisory question on the November ballot. Several other counties have already done the same thing or are considering doing so.

U.S. cities considering opening safe consumption facilities for illegal drugs are wary of federal intervention.

A Denver, Colorado police captain said that a CNN live report on New Year’s Eve about marijuana tourism buses led to a crackdown on those services.

A San Francisco, California Board of Supervisors committee amended a marijuana tax measure that voters could potentially see on the November ballot.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Canadian government launched a public consultation on how to recover costs associated with implementing marijuana legalization.

/ ADVOCACY

NORML launched a congressional letter writing campaign.

Republican pollster Frank Luntz picked up on the story about Democrats criticizing a GOP congressman for supporting marijuana reform.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “consumption of medical cannabis flower is associated with significant improvements in perceived insomnia.”

Here’s a look at how Colorado is handling youth marijuana education under legalization.

/ BUSINESS

Bloomberg looks at how big investors are starting to get involved in the marijuana industry.

Uber reserves the right to delete the accounts of riders who possess — or even just smell like — marijuana during trips.

/ CULTURE

Filmmaker Kevin Smith is piloting a new series starring himself as a marijuana dispensary worker.

Three Massachusetts men are facing animal cruelty charges after a video emerged of them appearing to blow marijuana smoke into a goat’s face.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.

Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 20-year veteran in the cannabis law reform movement, he covers the policy and politics of marijuana. Separately, he founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Previously he reported for Marijuana.com and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy. (Organization citations are for identification only and do not constitute an endorsement or partnership.)

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Arizona legal cannabis measure qualifies for ballot (Newsletter: August 12, 2020)

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VP Pence slams marijuana banking in COVID bill; Joe Kennedy: Psychedelics have medical ‘promise’; Blumenauer talks Biden, cannabis & psilocybin

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Arizona’s secretary of state certified that activists collected enough valid signatures to place a marijuana legalization measure on the November ballot.

Vice President Mike Pence criticized Democrats for including cannabis banking provisions in their latest coronavirus relief bill.

  • “The bill that they passed actually mentions marijuana more than it mentions jobs.”

Formerly anti-marijuana-legalization Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA) now says that psychedelics are “quite promising” for treating depression and PTSD. He voted against a House amendment last year to expand psilocybin and MDMA research.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) spoke to Marijuana Moment about his view that a President Joe Biden will be a “constructive player” on cannabis He also discussed Oregon ballot measures to decriminalize drugs and legalize psilocybin therapy.

  • Marijuana Moment Patreon supporters can listen to the audio of the full interview, including an unpublished answer about how the House could vote on a bill to deschedule cannabis as soon as next month, and how that would procedurally work.

New Jersey’s attorney general announced an administrative order allowing patients to get medical marijuana recommendations via telehealth services.

A Wyoming judge dismissed drug charges filed against hemp farmers who had successfully lobbied to legalize the non-intoxicating cannabis crop but were later accused by police of growing marijuana. Top state officials and lawmakers testified on their behalf in the case.

/ FEDERAL

The Drug Enforcement Administration is being criticized for not acknowledging former Federal Bureau of Narcotics Director Harry Anslinger’s racist comments in its museum exhibits and presentations about his legacy.

Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA) said in a telephone town hall meeting that she wasn’t familiar with marijuana provisions in House coronavirus legislation.

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) said, “Instead of spending three trillion dollars on things like marijuana banking, early release for criminals, and sending checks to illegal immigrants, we must work together on smart, targeted policies that help American businesses and workers.”

Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) tweeted about a study showing a correlation between maternal marijuana use during pregnancy and autism, saying, “Yet another reason recreational use of marijuana should not be allowed.”

Texas Democratic congressional candidate Adrienne Bell tweeted, “It is hypocritical to penalize license applicants for marijuana crimes, when the use has become legal in several states. Sentences should be expunged, forgiven, and opportunities created for minority business owners to enter this industry. The war on drugs was a war on communities of color. These same communities should benefit from the profits now being made from the legalization of marijuana.”

/ STATES

Virginia’s attorney general said that building momentum toward legalizing marijuana is one of his priorities for this month’s special legislative session.

South Dakota regulators submitted the state’s plan for federal approval.

The New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners suspended the license of a doctor for alleged “negligence, malpractice or incompetence” related to his recommendations for medical cannabis.

An Arkansas judge denied a motion from Green Thumb Industries to block regulators from issuing a medical cannabis license to another business.

Nevada regulators met with law enforcement to discuss marijuana rules.

Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Board met.

California’s Cannabis Advisory Committee is meeting on August 20 and 21.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 cannabis bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

/ LOCAL

Kansas City, Missouri’s mayor issued his first marijuana pardon.

Richmond, Virginia’s mayor sent a letter calling on the governor and top lawmakers to pass marijuana legalization legislation during this month’s special session.

/ INTERNATIONAL

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is refusing to reveal how she plans to vote on an upcoming marijuana legalization referendum. Meanwhile, the opposition National Party says it wouldn’t necessarily enact legalization even if voters approve the ballot measure.

South Africa’s justice and correctional services minister published a draft bill to legalize marijuana possession and home cultivation.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study suggested that “whole dried Cannabis flower may be an effective medication for treatment of migraine- and headache-related pain, but the effectiveness differs according to characteristics of the cannabis plant, the combustion methods, and the age and gender of the patient.”

The University of Pittsburgh and Parallel are collaborating on research on the efficacy and safety of medical cannabis, with an initial focus on treating sickle cell disease symptoms.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Republican Party of Virginia tweeted, “The @vademocrats & @JoeBiden are lying to you when they tell you that they support criminal justice reform. As California AG, Harris worked to keep inmates in overcrowded prisons so they could be used for cheap labor. She also sent almost 2,000 people to jail on marijuana charges, then later joked about smoking weed.”

/ BUSINESS

Acreage Holdings, Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $27.1 million and a net loss of $44.4 million.

Harvest Health & Recreation Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $55.7 million and net loss of $18.3 million.

The CEO of Canopy Growth Corp. said the company’s partnership with rapper Drake has “not been progressing as originally intended.”

Workers at Cultivate Holdings in Massachusetts voted to organize with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.

Vireo Health International, Inc. sold its equity in Pennsylvania Medical Solutions, LLC to Jushi Inc.

/ CULTURE

Snoop Dogg said that if New Jersey voters approve a marijuana legalization referendum, he will “will definitely be there to cut the ribbon.”

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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Top Senate Dem wants delay for hemp final rule (Newsletter: August 11, 2020)

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Clinton implies marijuana makes you dumb; VT Dems poised to back drug decrim; Reform org rolls out plan to end federal drug war

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to delay implementation of final legal hemp rules and extend the 2014 Farm Bill’s pilot program, citing coronavirus concerns.

  • “As we move into harvest season, farmers will need to operate with as much certainty as possible but timing and testing requirements will likely create bottlenecks that will push farmers to rush harvests. The potential for greater numbers of people working in facilities to meet the rush may create opportunities for COVID to spread among farm workers.”

2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton implied that consuming marijuana makes people do stupid things, an apparent joke made in response to part of a Maureen Dowd column she took exception to.

The draft Vermont Democratic Party platform set to be finalized next month includes planks supporting decriminalizing drugs and legalizing marijuana sales.

  • “Adopt an approach to the possession and misuse of drugs that is motivated solely by the principles of public health and harm reduction, rather than punishing undesirable private behavior, while avoiding the criminal justice system altogether.”

The Drug Policy Alliance unveiled a framework for how Congress can end the war on drugs. It includes defunding the Drug Enforcement Administration, eliminating possession penalties, ceasing to fund state enforcement, putting health agencies in charge of drug scheduling, expunging records and funding harm reduction services.

/ FEDERAL

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) criticized House Democrats for mentioning “cannabis” more times than “jobs” on their coronavirus relief bill.

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) tweeted, “But wasting trillions of dollars on liberal priorities like cannabis funding, taxpayer-funded abortion and the federalization of our elections – things that have nothing to do with providing COVID-19 relief – does much more than nickel-and-dime them.”

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) tweeted, “#Marijuana reform is #CriminalJustice reform. The war on drugs has targeted and incarcerated Black communities for TOO LONG. We need to decriminalize and deschedule cannabis at the federal level. #LegalizeIt”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “Marijuana legalization is a racial justice issue. The failed War on Drugs continues to devastate communities of color and low-income communities. Social and economic equity must be at the forefront of any marijuana policy.”

Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-TX) said in a constituent letter that he will continue to vote to keep marijuana illegal.

Georgia Democratic congressional candidate Barrington Martin tweeted, “Legalize and decriminalize marijuana and hemp. It would do more for the environment than people understand. Hemp legalization is a part of my Green New Deal. With hemp farms everywhere, we wouldn’t need to cut forests down!”

Florida Democratic congressional candidate Richard Thripp tweeted, “I support #marijuanalegalization. Here are some designs for advertisements in the general election. A big issue with Republican and independent voter support. Enough is enough!”

/ STATES

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) appointed a new cannabis regulation oversight officer.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “In 86 days, New Jersey will vote to fully legalize marijuana. In PA, we will send you to prison for 2.5 years with *any* number of plants, label you a felon for life, + fine you. I don’t know who needs to hear this, but *maybe* it’s time we figure out cannabis in PA.”

Minnesota’s House majority leader said a marijuana legalization bill might pass if Democrats take control of the state Senate in the November elections.

A Colorado court ruled that possessing marijuana while being booked is not itself a crime.

Oklahoma brought in more than $12 million in medical cannabis tax revenue in July.

Missouri regulators issued four more medical cannabis infused product manufacturing facility licenses.

The Florida Criminal Standards and Training Commission dismissed an administrative complaint against a corrections officer who tested positive for marijuana after using CBD oil.

Washington State regulators released draft conceptual rules for marijuana business premise certificates of compliance.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 cannabis bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

/ LOCAL

San Francisco, California police and cannabis industry participants will meet on August 18 to discuss safety issues in light of recent burglaries.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Bermuda’s attorney general gave lawmakers an update on a public consultation on draft marijuana legalization legislation and said an updated bill will be introduced soon.

New Zealand’s justice minister spoke about being offered marijuana on the street.

A Chinese court sentenced a Canadian citizen to death for allegedly producing MDMA.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “daily and near-daily cannabis use is associated with HIV viral load suppression in people living with HIV who use cocaine.”

A study found “an association between maternal cannabis use in pregnancy and the incidence of autism spectrum disorder in the offspring.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The National Governors Association is partnering with 10 states to formulate plans to address impaired driving.

Dakota Rural Action endorsed South Dakota marijuana legalization and medical cannabis ballot measures.

The Drug Policy Alliance led a sign-on letter of health organizations and professionals calling on congressional leaders to pass legislation to reschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair the harms of the war on drugs.

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corporation reported $110 million in quarterly revenue and a net loss of $128 million.

Tilray, Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $50.4 million and a net loss of $81.7 million.

Columbia Care, Inc. reported quarterly combined revenue of $33 million and a net loss  of $27.3 million.

/ CULTURE

The creators of “The Walking Dead” won a trademark case against a parody cannabis-themed comic “The Toking Dead.”

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White House slams cannabis banking in Dem COVID bill (Newsletter: August 10, 2020)

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State ag depts.: extend hemp program; Senator talks marijuana on floor; OR officials analyze drug decrim & psilocybin measures; USDA OKs hemp plans

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Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

By starting a $10 per month pledge on Patreon—or about 45 cents per issue of this newsletter—you can help us rely less on ads to cover our expenses, hire more journalists and bring you even more marijuana news.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Trump administration joined congressional Republicans in criticizing marijuana banking provisions in Democrats’ latest COVID bill. 

  • “In one instance they have provided guarantees for banking access for marijuana growers. That has absolutely nothing to do with coronavirus,” Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President MIke Pence and former White House legislative director said.

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and the National Industrial Hemp Council are pushing Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to extend hemp pilot programs for states that haven’t yet been able to finalize regulations under the 2018 Farm Bill.

Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) took to the Senate floor to make the case that legalizing marijuana must be a part of police reform and racial justice efforts, and to discuss her new bill that would federally regulate cannabis like tobacco.

  • “It is time to legalize marijuana, and we should do it in a practical and commonsense way that protects the health and safety and the civil rights of our communities.”

Oregon officials finalized summaries of measures to decriminalize drug possession and legalize psilocybin therapy that are on the November ballot. The drug decriminalization initiative will mean “significant reductions in racial/ethnic disparities in both convictions and arrests,” a state panel said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved hemp plans for Maryland and another Indian tribe, bringing the total number of approved plans across states, territories and tribes to 55.

/ FEDERAL

The Department of Veterans Affairs’s Veterans Health Administration tweeted, “Marijuana: natural = safe, right? Not necessarily.”

Libertarian presidential candidate Jo Jorgensen tweeted, “The DNC just refused to add legalizing marijuana to their platform, it’s been on the LP platform since day one.”

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) tweeted, “My priority is helping Louisiana families struggling during this pandemic. Democrats are using the unemployed as a point of leverage to pass the entirety of their HEROES Act, which mentions marijuana more than jobs. Lets put families first.”

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) tweeted, “Heroes Act is a cruel joke: Tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, soil enhancement studies, diversity in cannabis industry, pay people not to work – nothing for schools, small businesses or jobs.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) tweeted, “Pelosi & Schumer held up relief for the American people because they wanted a liberal wishlist that talks more about “cannabis” than a ‘job.’ Today President Trump took action to make up for Democrats’ failures. He stepped up to deliver targeted relief to the American people.”

Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) said a psychedelics decriminalization ballot measure will make Washington, D.C. “the mushroom capital of the United States.”

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair the harms of the drug war got one new cosponsor for a total of 81.

Alabama Democratic congressional candidate Kiani Gardner tweeted, “I don’t have strong feeling about marijuana, but at least once a day, I get furious thinking about US pot laws that make (mostly white) millionaires in one states and tear apart (mostly black) families in another.  Turns out, I have really strong feelings about marijuana.”

Maryland Republican congressional candidate Kimberly Klacik tweeted, “Next week, I will introduce my proposal to lower crime, violence, the homicide rate & to truly make a dent on the war on drugs. It’s 1 piece of legislation.”

/ STATES

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “It’s astonishing society is OK with lethal, highly addictive opioids, but a *mushroom* is illegal. Same, cannabis. Let’s all consider that- sit back with a bottle of Jack Daniels + fire up a Marlboro.”

Michigan’s attorney general and secretary of state warned voters that people are circulating ballot petitions described as “supporting medical marijuana initiatives” but that actually concern completely different policy areas.

Florida’s agriculture commissioner tweeted, “On #NationalCBDDay, if you’re out shopping for #CBD products, be sure to check for the Florida #Hemp seal. We established Florida’s State Hemp Rules to ensure quality, consistent, and safe products for consumers.”

North Carolina agriculture commissioner candidate Jenna Wadsworth tweeted, “Cannabis legalization offers a viable economic opportunity to farmers & rural communities. #Cannabis could foster true social justice opportunities for communities of color through decriminalization & HUB firms being distribution channels.”

An Arizona judge rejected a lawsuit seeking to keep a marijuana legalization measure off the ballot over claims its summary is misleading.

Nevada regulators approved a partial settlement of a lawsuit challenging the state’s marijuana business licensing process.

Oklahoma has a new top medical cannabis regulator.

Florida’s Hemp Advisory Committee will meet on Thursday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 cannabis bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

/ LOCAL

The Chatham County, Georgia Board of Commissioners approved a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

Several California cities and counties will vote on local marijuana ballot measures in November.

Vermilion Parish, Louisiana prosecutors agreed to a deal to release a man who was serving a life sentence for selling $30 worth of marijuana.

/ INTERNATIONAL

South Africa’s cabinet approved a bill to legalize marijuana possession and home cultivation.

Polish authorities detained an unnamed cannabis executive and a regulator in charge of registering medical products for allegedly engaging in an illegal approval scheme.

Only 257 people have benefitted from Canada’s marijuana pardon program in its first year.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “prescription stimulant use was higher in states without medical marijuana laws.”

A study concluded that “marijuana gateway effects may exist” but that “results demonstrate that the phenomena used to motivate belief in such an effect are consistent with an alternative simple, plausible common‐factor model” and that “no gateway effect is required to explain them.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Pennsylvania Democratic Party tweeted, “Ending marijuana prohibition is an issue of racial justice, criminal justice, and economic justice.”

/ CULTURE

Actor Rob Lowe discussed psychedelics with Joe Rogan.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
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